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Thursday, May 15, 2008


A Week Of Reviewing Nearly Everything (Part Three)

The next installment in our week o' reviewing is the darkest in the series...kind of like that third Harry Potter movie, where everything got gloomy once Alfonso Cuaron took over. Prepare for some rough waters ahead, kids...

Plantlife, Time Traveller (site)
Producer Jack Splash (best known for his recent work with Alicia Keys, Raheen DeVaughn and John Legend, has created this conceptual alter ego to explore, apparently, his love of retro soul influences. (Any album that features tracks called "Rollerskate Jam" and "Be Beautiful (LuvBooogie2)" has a bygone era on the brain.) And as these indulgences go, Time Traveller isn't too bad; there's a early-Prince fabulousness to "Outta Control" and a Pointer Sisters-like beat to "U Messed It Up So We Took It Back." But if you're looking for a truly substantial trip through time, best to look elsewhere.

Portishead, Third (site)
Is it possible to admire electronic outfit Portishead as musicians...while admitting that I can't stand their records? I readily admit that the problem is mine, not theirs; while it's easy to recognize the superb production values and thoughtful approach to lyrics and instrumentation, it seems difficult to love their music as an entity unto itself. It has a coldness, a detachment, a disassociative element that I personally don't respond to. Returning after many years to active recording and touring, Portishead's legions of fans will find both their signature sound intact and a forward-thinking evolution on Third. For me, however, I'd admire it from afar, thank you very much.

Sarah Brightman, Symphony (site)
Up until now, the most disappointing thing about Brightman's recording career has been its wastefulness...a former Broadway starlet with a distinctive (if uneven) soprano range, her albums have often been overly-theatrical flights of fancy, "concept" albums that lack even one solid idea. With Symphony, however, Brightman's career hits an all-time low. Overblown and undercooked, the disc's Enya-on-acid formula is lyrically vapid ('the perfume of pain') to the point of idiocy; her orchestral arrangements are so earth-trembling, even Jim Steinman would hang his head in shame. For serious fans only, if there is such a thing.

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